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GENERAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 113-118

A medical school's approach to meeting the challenges of interdisciplinary global health education for resident physicians


1 Department of Family Medicine, Office of International Activities, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
2 Office of International Activities, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, USA
3 Department of Pediatrics, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, USA
4 Department of Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
5 Department of Family Medicine, Executive Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Correspondence Address:
Carlough Martha
Department of Family Medicine, Office of International Activities, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, CB 7595, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7595
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.188750

Background: Following a similar trend among United States (US) medical students, US resident physicians are increasingly interested in pursuing global health education. Largely, residency education has lagged behind in addressing this demand. Time and curriculum requirements make meeting this need challenging. The Office of International Activities (OIA) at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) was founded to provide support to students and residents in the area global health. In order to more fully understand resident physicians' attitudes and educational needs, a survey of incoming residents was undertaken. Methods: The OIA administered a survey for incoming first-year residents of all specialties in July 2012. The survey was administered over one month using Qualtrics® and the response rate was 60%. Results: Although 42% of residents had had an international experience during medical school, only 36% reported they felt prepared to address issues of international public health, including travel medicine and immigrant health. Significant barriers to involvement in global health opportunities in residency education were identified, including lack of time, finances and mentorship. Discussion: As has been previously documented for global health education for medical students, this study's residents saw significant barriers to international electives during residency, including lack of elective time, finances and family responsibilities. In response to the survey results, an interdisciplinary educational initiative was developed at our school. This included obtaining buy-in from core residency leadership, establishing a pathway to arrange experiences, competitive scholarships for travel, and initiation of interdisciplinary educational opportunities. Results may serve as a useful model for other academic centers in developed countries.


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